A video posted by PCAS, the Popular Committee Against the Siege, sends out a strong message to the world: “After seven months since Gaza was under attack, Gaza is now under the rubble.”
A student at the Islamic University of Gaza, Shaima Zara, stands amid the empty shells of houses and buildings in what was, before last summer, “one of the liveliest places in Gaza”. Where children had once laughed and played, now there is nothing but hollow stone structures.
“We are here today to tell you and remind you that there are still people living on the ruins and rubble of their houses and cannot find shelters,” says Shaima. “Gaza is still suffering from a catastrophe that is way more severe and grave than 51 days of war.”
She mentions the stifling effect the siege has had on the reconstruction of Gaza, saying that any cement and building materials that do get in are simply not enough for the scope of destruction that lies before Gaza’s residents.
“If a family needs 100 tonnes of cement…they would get one or two tonnes if any.”
Like in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria, Palestinians are suffering unbearably. If it isn’t war and fighting that puts their lives in danger, it’s homelessness, hunger and lack of medical care. Up to 60,000 housing units were partially destroyed, and 10,000 were completely destroyed, state the facts at the end of the video. More than 250,000 people are still homeless, putting into numbers just how little change there has been since the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire last August.
The first anniversary of the beginning of the war is speedily approaching, and the misery continues. “Gaza was promised $5 billion to rise again from the ruins, but…nothing has changed, as if time has stopped in this wasteland,” continues Shaima. People clung on to their hopes, but the depressing reality that, at the current rate, it would take 100 years to rebuild the city prevails.
The shocking photos aren’t coming out of Gaza thick and fast through mainstream media outlets as they were during 2014’s war. But now, Gaza’s catastrophe is equally pressing, even though its nature has changed. What was a time of death and destruction, while the world’s eyes were fixated on the Gaza Strip, is now a time of decay and dearth as we all but turn our heads away.
Don’t forget to check out Banksy’s recent trip to Gaza and his eye-opening graffiti.